Sticks and Stonesby Emily Bazelon, author of the forthcoming book Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (Random House, February 2013)

When I was in eighth grade, my friends fired me. Two and a half decades later, I can say that wryly: it happened to plenty of people, and we survived—look at us now, right? But at the time, in that moment, it was impossible to have that kind of perspective. Being rejected by the girls I loved left me crawling with insecurity and self-doubt—what had I done wrong? I disappeared from the lunchroom and hid during free periods. I dreaded the words “choose a partner” in class, especially gym, where you could either pair up and scamper away or stand there alone. At home I cried. On some level, I guess, I knew that I wasn’t the only lonely thirteen-year-old in the world, but how did that help, really? Instead of finding some inner source of comfort, I picked myself apart—was I too bossy? Irritating? Self-absorbed? What was it that had driven them away? What was wrong with me? (more…)